Transnationality Index

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The world's top 10 non-financial multinational corporations by Transnationality Index as calculated by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in 2008[1]
Company Home country Industry Percent
Xstrata United Kingdom Mining & quarrying 93.2
ABB Ltd. Switzerland and Sweden Engineering services 90.4
Nokia Finland Electrical & electronic equipment 90.3
Pernod Ricard SA France Food, beverages and tobacco 89.1
WPP Group United Kingdom Business services 88.9
Vodafone Group Plc United Kingdom Telecommunications 88.6
Linde AG Germany Chemicals 88.3
Anheuser-Busch InBev Belgium Food, beverages and tobacco 87.9
Anglo American United Kingdom Mining & quarrying 87.5
ArcelorMittal Luxembourg Metal and metal products 87.2

The Transnationality Index (TNI) is a means of ranking multinational corporations that is employed by economists and politicians. It is calculated as the arithmetic mean of the following three ratios (where "foreign" means outside of the corporation's home country):[2]

  • the ratio of foreign assets to total assets
  • the ratio of foreign sales to total sales
  • the ratio of foreign employment to total employment

The Transnationality Index was developed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.[3][4]

Multinational corporations are also ranked by the amount of foreign assets that they own. However, the TNI ranking can differ markedly from this. For example, as of 2000, General Electric was the second largest multinational corporation in terms of foreign assert ownership. However, it ranked only 73rd by the TNI, with an index of only 40%. Although the company had large investments outside of the United States, most of its sales, employment, and assets were within the U.S.. In contrast, Exxon has a TNI of 68% and Vodafone has a TNI of 81%. As of 2001, General Electric ranked 75th, with a TNI of 36.7%. The 14 most transnational corporations originated in small countries (Switzerland, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Canada), whereas the largest multinational corporations in terms of foreign asset ownership all had low TNI scores. General Motors, the fourth largest multinational corporation in terms of foreign asset ownership only ranked 83rd (30.7%) on the TNI top 100. IBM ranked 50th (53.7%), Volkswagen ranked 45th (55.7%), and Toyota, the sixth largest multinational corporation in terms of foreign asset ownership, only ranked 82nd (30.9%) on the broader TNI scale.[2][5]

Peter Dicken, an honorary fellow of the School of Environment and Development at the University of Manchester, argues that TNI data refute the assertions of hyperglobalism. The data, he argues, prove false the claim that multinational corporations are "inexorably, and inevitably, abandoning their ties to their country of origin". If that were the case, we would expect the largest multinational corporations to have the majority of their assets, sales, and employmnent outside of their countries of origin, and thus the majority of those corporations to have high TNIs. In fact, in the UNCTAD TNI data for the top 100 multinational corporations for 2001, the mean TNI is 52.6%, 57 of the 100 have a TNI greater than 50%, and only a mere 16 have a TNI greater than 75%. Thus, he concludes, measured TNI data provide little evidence for multinational corporations having the proportions of their assets, sales, and employees outside of their home countries that one would expect for truly global firms.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Stuart Wall and Bronwen Rees (2004). International Business. Pearson Education. p. 24. ISBN 9780273685913. 
  3. ^ [1] The International Trade Journal August 1999
  4. ^ Grazia Ietto-Gillies and Tannis Seccombe-Hett (1998-10-08). "What do Internationalization Indices Measure?" (PDF). Centre for International Business Studies, London South Bank University. 
  5. ^ a b Peter Dicken (2003). Global Shift. SAGE. pp. 221–224. ISBN 9780761971504.